Everybody wants to look their best. Abs made of steel that are so strong, they can set off any metal detector is dream wished by many. However, although strong sleek abs are a hot commodity, your core muscles are much more important than just looking good in a swimsuit.
When most people think of the core, they think of a six-pack or toned sexy abs. But the truth is that your abs have very limited and specific action. In fact, what experts actually refer to as the “core”, consists of different muscles that run the entire length of the torso which include:
- Rectus abdominis
- Erector spinae
- External obliques
- Internal obliques
- Transverse abdominis
- Hip flexors
- Gluteus medius and minimus
When you engage these muscles and they contract, they stabilize the pelvis, spine, and shoulder girdle, creating a solid base of support for powerful movements of your arms and legs. In order to be effective, core conditioning exercise programs need to target all these muscle groups.
A strong core allows you to be faster, stronger, and more powerful in every aspect of your life. It also helps to prevent injury by keeping you stable and balanced. If you are trying to strengthen these important muscles, then keep reading. Here are 3 steps to building a stronger core.
The plank is arguably one of the best exercises that you can do to strengthen your core. It involves very minimal movement but maximum effort. Planking requires you to support your body on your forearms and toes while holding your body in a straight line. If you are having trouble holding this position, try resting on your knees. To make it more challenging, extend your arms so you are supported by your hands.
The name might sound funny, but the exercise definitely isn’t! If you have ever seen a beetle desperately trying to correct itself after ending up on its back, then you already have some idea as to what lies ahead approaching the dead bug exercise. Simply lie flat on your back with your arms fully extended straight towards the sky and your legs raised with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower your right arm and your left leg at the same time until they are hovering just a few inches off the floor. Then return to the starting position, repeating with the opposite limbs. To make this exercise a little more challenging, try holding your arm and leg without touching the ground for 10 seconds prior to bringing them back up to the starting position.
Last on the list but definitely not least, is dance. You were probably expecting us to list another floor exercise, huh? But believe it or not, dancing is one of those sneaky activities that strengthen your core without you even knowing it. Think about it – when you dance, all of the turnings, twisting, twirling, reaching, and stretching associated with different dance movements thoroughly works every single layer of your core, helping to strengthen these abdominal muscles. In addition, core training through dance can also help to improve your posture by helping to strengthen the muscles that surround your spine. This will help your posture and stand up straighter and feel better as you continue to shake your booty to the beat!
It goes without saying that your core is important. It’s more than just your abs. Your core is your entire back, abs and torso muscles. If you are looking to strengthen these powerful muscles to help support your healthy lifestyle, we recommend giving one of our three tips a try!